And it's only in going to title this that I see it fits so well with yesterday's parasha, so that's where the name comes from. I'll let you make the connection.
So Shabbat is over three hours already, and I'm not sure exactly what I've done. I came in at about a quarter to seven, I turned on the computer, prayed Maariv, made myself a cup of coffee, watched a stupid NetFlix episode (I think I'm going to cancel NetFlix; I realized I get more out of MasterClass, it costs about the same; so unless you all tell me otherwise, that's what I'll do) while I played a day of my Solitaire (I just uninstalled that again: I've been better about it anyway. I got to actually just doing the hard or expert one or ones most days.), checked my e-mail (annoying: one of my new clients is checking up on me with Maria after I busted my butt for him; I'm firing him; and another also checked in with Maria because she somehow doesn't get that “n/a” means not applicable), and then I ended up on LinkedIn, where I'll soon be unfollowing a few more people (most of Pulver's friends are stupid anti-Trumpists), and then on to Facebook, where I saw a couple of my social posts, and ended on the one displaying the card above.
It's Saba's yahrzeit this week, so I said Kaddish for him today. I don't know I'll be making a minyan on the actual day (Thursday night/Friday), and I guess it was nice of him to show up as I was floundering into another wasted evening. I thought to write you first, but gave myself permission to do other things.
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw
So, I'll look for myself, and wonder where it was that my father forgot these things, or decided the world wouldn't let him be this, or maybe he did win. I don't know what his mighty purpose was. It seems I keep finding new questions I would have liked to ask him, some of which I can imagine how he'd answer, but I don't know. And it makes me sad to think of it, and it makes me miss him. And wish I'd somehow done or been more. And I know that's stupid; so I'll let it go.
There are certainly elements of this I see in my own life, the biggest to date being the role I play in creating the five beautiful human beings who are my immediate family. And while I still have a role to play, you are mostly grown and don't need the attention you once did.
And I suppose there is something to this in my time at Landmark, the whole point there being to give people lives “given by purposes they recognize as mighty ones.” It's kind of meta I guess.
And I see it in what I created with some of my students. I suppose I saw there a mighty purpose, but wasn't sure that my actions actually brought what I thought I might. There's one student who sticks with me, a seventh grade girl from last year, who asked me for a hug at the end of the year (in a religious school) because I was as a father to her. Dr. Peterson notes that one of the things that fill him with awe is how little people need, and how this they are simply not getting.
So I guess a purpose I can recognize as a great one is helping people to orient themeselves toward a life that uses themselves as Shaw saw as the true joy. I suppose I take his thought as a principle of faith, and you obviously see in this my continued annoying questions of you.
And it could be that others define joy differently, but I like this definition.
And I wonder if the mighty purpose is present in what I do. I take care of people—I suppose that is also a mighty purpose—but I'm not sure I recognize it as one, especially when I run up against the client I said I'm firing back at the first paragraph.
It's actually now two plus hours since I started this. A part of the reason is that I went back to listen to Dr. Peterson again in his Dr. Oz interview. He talks of his own purpose, but I like his formulation: to “Buttress and Sustain the Healthy Sovereignty of the Individual,” that how he should be remembered is as a person who wanted the best for people.
This fits. It's just nailing down my particular idiom that's at issue now.
I would say I'm being used, but I worry it might be a wearing down for things that I wouldn't define as mighty.
But perhaps this is a good challenge. What I do is good. But I could build a system to manage the doing of this rather than to be trying to do so much of it. Then it would be easier for me to expand to play on a bigger stage, if that is what I want.
It's something to generate myself as. I haven't consistently until now, but it might be a good place to look.
I'll let you know how that goes.
And if I didn't put it right, read Mr. Green's The Key to Perfect Freedom. I'd gotten lazy about typing out the quote; so I searched for it, and found it there, with his oh so cogent thoughts on the matter.